On Saturday a group of people dedicated to seeing Julian Assange free, gathered at Byron Bay’s Main Beach to celebrate Assange’s 50th birthday.
Assange who is a journalist, editor, publisher, activist and founder of Wikileaks in 2006, has been held in Londons Belmarsh maximum security prison since the 11 of April 2019, for breaking rules of his original bail conditions and sentenced to fifty weeks imprisonment.
On the January 4 this year, a London district judge ruled that the request of the United States to extradite him would be ‘oppressive’ in consideration of his mental health.
It looked like Assange would possibly be released when on January 6 his new bail conditions were denied by the appeal of the United States against the extradition decision.
Local Free Julian Assange group spokesperson Chibo Mertineit says that there is a media boycott. ‘The BBC, the Guardian and even former supportive US papers like the Washington Post and New York Times, were not writing on Assange,’ said Mr Mertineit. ‘It was the Icelandic paper Stundin reporting last month on June 26, that a key witness of the United States department of justice had admitted to making up accusations in the US indictment case against him.’
Mr Mertineit said it was a sign of hope of his release. ‘The Australian government has not been supportive, so far as they should speak up for every incarcerated Australian.’
Happy, wet birthday celebration
Mr Mertineit says it was a happy but wet, birthday celebration in Byron, kicking off gatherings around the world with the demand to finally set him free. ‘The United States was trying to get Assange after Wikileaks published in 2010 a series of leaks from US intelligence analyst Chelsea Mannings. The most shocking was the video of the attack in Baghdad in 2007 by US Apachi helicopters that killed a dozen people including two Reuters press stuff.
‘As Sweden issued an international warrant for sexual misconduct in November 2010 and Assange lost his case against extradition to Sweden and feared from there to be extradited to the United States, he breached his bail and took asylum in June 2012 in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for nearly seven years.
‘The Equadorian government withdraw the asylum after a series of disputes and invited the British police to come and collect him in April 2019.
How much longer
‘How much longer will Assange be locked up in horrible isolation and how much longer will we watch when whistleblower and truth-tellers get criminalised while the real criminals never get to court?
‘It’s time to bring Julian Assange home to Australia to live his life with his kids and wife in peace after nearly a decade of incarceration.
‘He deserves our support as do our local independent papers and radio stations.’